We say this all the time, but: ours is a science-fictional world. Those Democratic debates? Staged like the Thunder Dome, sponsored by Facebook, with candidates talking marijuana and the finer points of Democratic Socialism? Couldn't have made that up. As for Bernie Sanders railing against the catastrophic effects of corporate personhood, well—have we got a story for you. —The Eds.
Consciousness floods back in a rush. The first physical sensation is of shoulders hunching against a pounding headache. Other perceptions flash by in snapshots.
Harsh overhead lights stab down from above, lighting the surrounding corridor. Each step across the vinyl floors stings the flesh.
People hover in a moving circle, all lab coats and concerned expressions. None look familiar. There are gaping holes where memory should be, and most disturbing: no "I."
Instead, internal voices chatter in waves of confused opinion. Body, male, tall. Hands calloused and strong. No manicure.
"Integration is still incomplete. We should run subduction diagnostics." This from a red-headed woman speaking without looking up from a tablet. A deep voice answers, "no time. Remember the completion clause."
Industrial ventilation pushes currents of air past sensitive skin. The walls smell of benzoin and loss. Like a hospital, the thought bubbles up from the recesses of a still-chaotic mind.
By the end of the corridor, the headache is starting to fade.
A woman smelling of jasmine and hand sterilizer steps in close. Her raised hand triggers a flinch, but it's not an attack. Instead, she brushes a speck from a bespoke Italian two-piece in charcoal gray wool. Yours. The craftsmanship is impeccable but the seams rub in unfamiliar places.
The woman enters a code into the keypad for a heavy double door. She smiles wide as it swings open.
"Welcome to your new life, sir."
The expansive room beyond swirls with movement and color. Bodies shift on all sides, shoes whisper over thick carpet, and oversized windows reveal the twinkling light of a city at dusk. Cars stream like network signals between buildings no larger than toys.
The gentle pressure of a stranger's hand guides the way. Destination: a long oak table beneath an ornate chandelier, and the pearlized leather of an Eames executive chair.
New faces stare back from around the room, each reflecting a ruthless equation with only two possible solutions: friend or foe?
Sheets of e-paper rest on the table's surface, one to a chair, artfully arranged beside warmed finger towels and glasses of chilled champagne. Rich scents of vanilla and cigars waft up from the page as the text flashes for attention.
Introduction (1) Welcome to your new life! NuCorYou thanks you for choosing us as your corporate personality integrator. We hope you enjoy your stay! This document is designed to provide an orientation to the basics of personhood. Its goal is to help you understand the integration of your composite personalities, know the rules, understand that discretion is the better part of transparency, and, finally, when to pack it in. We strive to make your transition as smooth as possible. Some of you have been here before through mergers, acquisitions or bankruptcy (2) but most will need time to accustom yourselves to social rules and regulations. Please don't hesitate to ask questions of your trainer or other team members. Our goal here at NuCorYou is to help you make the most successful transition possible. Ask us anything! (3)
"Do you remember?"
This first thought comes without warning. The voice, a vibrant soprano, echoes within the towering male body. She is not the only internal presence, but she is the loudest.
Corporate Citizenship Corporate persons, even newly minted, are expected to obey the same laws as other persons. Mostly. As of this writing corporate personas cannot be held accountable for individual acts of murder. Still, please do consider your actions carefully in light of the potential repercussions for your reputation and community relations. It never hurts to explore alternative strategies, particularly if you are based in a jurisdiction with weak corruption laws. (4)
Fraud, ethical misconduct, corporate scandal. Words rise from the depths, memories cascading in their wake. The champagne does nothing to dispel the echoes of shame.
Integration and Settling In Depending on the size of your corporation of origin you may find the integration period challenging. Please don't be alarmed! The process of merging hundreds of employee and C-suite personalities (5) is complex and sometimes unpredictable, but our success rate is in excess of fifty percent! In the meantime, you may find that facets of your body's previous owner may emerge. This is temporary and will subside as the integration protocols reinforce your new neural pathways. (6) Please also remember that your new body is organic and will require periodic maintenance. (7)
Hands won't stop shaking. A glance at the others around the table shows no sign of internal conflict, no reaction to match the battle raging inside.
Making Connections Social media is very hot right now and you should take some time to familiarize yourself with the technology and its ramifications! (8) Be polite! It never hurts to offer assistance to an elderly person attempting to cross a busy intersection…and if the event happens to be recorded and anonymously posted online, so much the better! Some of you may be interested in sampling other types of connections as well. Rest assured that you are covered under the Supreme Court's recent ruling, Essence of the Dharma of Cola (9) v. Florida, and will face no discrimination should you choose to marry. (10)
"Some of us were already married. We all had lives."
Can't We All Just Get Along? It may come as a surprise that humans choose to operate based on considerations you find illogical. Rather than making decisions based on a corporate charter, leadership goals or shareholder rights, some humans factor in issues such as prejudice, kindness or long-term goals of a non-economic nature. Familiarize yourself with these factors, as they are key to understanding human behavior and will be critical if you decide to engage humans one on one. (11)
"Ask whose body this is, whose dreams you stole. Ask what you can do to deserve it."
Social Needs as Opportunities As a physical being you may notice new inconveniences, like having to wait in traffic (bet you miss those zippy network routers) or homeless people requesting change rather than e-payments. These examples of under-served markets and market failures are just waiting to be addressed. In your new form you are ideally positioned to identify and exploit those opportunities before your less corporeal competition even knows there is a problem. That's right, your new body can be a major competitive advantage! (12) Don't get angry, get rich!™
"There's more to business than profit. So much more we can do."
The soprano has gained strength, moving to the front of the pack. It's hard to separate her voice from thought.
Refunds NuCorYou has the Best Customer Service in the Business™ but must remind you that refunds are not possible once you begin the transfer process. Also, there is absolutely no truth to the rumors that some corporate persons have been hijacked by rogue elements in their integral matrix. Some versions simply find that they are composed of more socially-minded individuals, for example, than expected. This should in no way be interpreted as a failure of the process. (13) If at any time you need help don't hesitate to call us at 1-800-NUCORYOU. (14)
"Help won't be necessary."
She stands at the fore now, her passion a beacon for the others to follow. The integration process is almost complete. She looks out from the body's eyes, feels moisture condensing on the chilled glass, hears the low murmur of these new captains of industry. Her colleagues, her peers, her competitors.
She allows herself a moment of satisfaction. The plan worked. Fighting her way into the company, up the ladder. Her early ideas for sustainability, for equality and the alleviation of suffering, ignored, so she assumed the mantra of short-term profit and waited for her chance.
She read every new article on the emerging science of integration. Honed her intellect, sharpened her sense of purpose. Waited for the moment to embed her mindprint in a new personality.
This body, claimed in a bankruptcy filing, was her first opportunity.
Over six feet tall, male, a history of sports and competitive achievement. The perfect disguise.
We at NuCorYou celebrate your choice to embody corporeal personhood and wish you a pleasant stay. Welcome to the human race! (Try not to break it.)
She rubs one palm against her cheek and realizes that she'll have to learn how to shave.
Just one of many items on her to do list.
1. 2033 edition, all content subject to change. NuCorYou cannot be held accountable for future legal or other updates. 2. We don't judge but please! Even if this is not your first time around we ask that you read this guide in its entirety; regulations and expectations change frequently. We will not be held responsible if failure to familiarize yourself with the rules leads to loss of reputation, incarceration or other legal action. 3. We often attempt to verify a sample of one in ten answers given by our contractors. 4. Toxic dumping and other environmental crimes are currently high-profile issues; we recommend caution in this area. 5. Individual options dependent on package selection, your profile may vary. Please note that while it is currently legal to claim ownership of your component personality snapshots, future laws may require you to return aspects of your personality and/or work performed should the employee of origin no longer remain in your employ. 6. If the previous owner refuses to vacate contact NuCorYou immediately. Carrier bodies are carefully screened for health and safety violations, and owners sign indentures transferring all rights for the duration of the contract. No provisions for timesharing have been made! 7. For additional information, see "Sleep: Why You Need It" and "Legal and Other Stimulants: A Guide." 8. For more on this topic consider our new leadership and management training course, "Persuasion & Influence: Making Social Media Work For You," only $5999! 9. With this high-profile ruling in mind we also recommend that you choose your corporeal name wisely. 10. For those with less permanent aspirations, we remind you that prostitution laws remain in effect in most jurisdictions. We also refer you to one of our most popular publications, "Viruses and Other Bugs: Not Just a Digital Problem." 11. For an additional $999 we will include our newest training module, "The Sexual Transmission of Liability: Or, Everything You Need to Know About Office Romance." 12. NuCorYou does not claim that physical personhood guarantees wealth or any degree of success, and cannot be held liable for any losses you may incur. 13. You may experience the urge to volunteer at a food bank or redesign your global supply chain to incorporate sustainability factors. Consider this a form of employee-centered market research. It's not a bug, it's a feature! 14. Wait times improve .01% triannually!